Zay Flowers Fantasy Outlook: The WR To Draft in Baltimore?

Baltimore Ravens rookie WR Zay Flowers has caught the eye of QB Lamar Jackson in training camp. Will he be the highest-scoring fantasy WR in Baltimore in 2023?

When your former NFL league MVP QB Lamar Jackson gives you the nickname “joystick” the first week of training camp, you know there is a reason to be excited about WR Zay Flowers in Baltimore this year. But will this rookie be the biggest fantasy football producer of the retooled Ravens WR group?

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Zay Flower’s Fantasy Outlook

The Ravens’ offense received a significant makeover this offseason. Baltimore started by making the change from the run-heavy scheme of Greg Roman to former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Todd Monken as the team’s new OC.

Some may be skeptical about the reports of the Ravens airing it out more in 2023, but if you look at Monken’s track record in the NFL, it feels more like a certainty that Baltimore will throw the ball more this season.

Monken’s aforementioned two previous OC stints saw him go to the air quite often. In 2019, with the Browns, Cleveland averaged throwing the ball 33.6 times per game. But the bigger selling point was his 2018 season with the Bucs, where they averaged 39 passing attempts per game and led the league in passing yards.

In comparison to Roman’s play-calling history — just one year after Jackson earned MVP honors in 2019 — the Ravens averaged 25 passing attempts per game, which ranked dead last in the NFL.

You can make an argument that Jackson’s modest production as a passer since his MVP campaign is closely tied to Roman’s offensive approach. After all, Jackson has thrown for over 3,000 yards, 30 TD passes, and 400 passing attempts in a season just once in his entire career (2019).

So, not only was the offensive system potentially obstructing Jackson’s development as a passer, but the departure of his top WR, Marquise Brown, heading into the 2022 season didn’t do him any favors, either.

According to Inside Edge, Jackson completed passes for 20+ yards on just 24 of his 326 total passing attempts, which was tied for 24th among 33 qualified QBs.

Now, some of these efficiency issues do fall on Lamar missing some deeper throws in 2022, but this is where Flowers can step right in and make an instant fantasy impact.

MORE: 2023 Fantasy Player Projections

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Flowers during his days at Boston College, he’s a vertical threat who ran every route from every position in the formation and won on all three levels of the field with his route-running savvy and playmaking ability after the catch.

Flowers’ versatility and explosiveness instantly give Baltimore’s passing offense the juice to capitalize on the multitude of deep-shot opportunities they’ll have when defenses load up to slow down the rushing attack.

Some of you might be saying that is a nice sales pitch and all, but won’t Odell Beckham Jr. and Rashod Bateman prevent a potential breakout season from Flowers?

The answer could be yes… if they can stay on the field.

OBJ hasn’t stepped foot on an NFL field for a live game since Super Bowl LVI back on Feb. 13, 2022, which in some part caused him to miss the entire 2022 NFL season. In addition, Beckham has played every game of an NFL regular season twice in his entire nine-year career.

As for Bateman’s durability issues, he’s already appeared on the PUP list after receiving a cortisone shot in the same foot he injured last season, which cost him 11 games and forced him to have surgery. Through his first two seasons, Bateman has missed 16 games.

Do you know how many games Flowers missed due to injury during his time at Boston College? Zero.

Flowers was available for all 48 games in college. The saying “the best ability is availability” certainly applies to this WR group. The data would suggest Flowers is the most likely to play a full 17-game NFL season of these three WRs.

Should You Draft Flowers at His Current Draft Day Price?

If you want to keep waiting on the impending Bateman breakout season that is entering its third year while he battles a lingering foot issue… or hold onto the fantasy glory days of OBJ while ignoring both of their durability concerns… then be my guest.

I’ll gladly take the durable, versatile, and explosive Flowers at his current ADP of 117 in the 10th round.

Hollywood Brown finished as the PPR WR22 in 2021, with Jackson missing the final five games of the season. Flowers possesses the vertical speed to fill Brown’s shoes but offers far more versatility in route running, formation alignment, and yards after the catch.

Flowers is absolutely worth a selection in Round 11 and could vastly outperform his current ADP as the WR47 off the board on draft day.

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